January 30, 2014


In case you haven't heard, Atlanta is suffering from Snowpocalypse 2.0. Almost exactly three years ago, we received an inch or two of snow that melted and froze and melted and froze and melted and froze, so we were stuck inside for a week. This time, it started snowing (and sticking) around noon, all five million Atlantans attempted to drive home at once, and it was a huge mess. Gridlock everywhere, 12+ hour commutes, and three inches of snow and ice. It took me 2 hours to get home, including a two-mile uphill hike with all my stuff, and I'm still stuck at home. And I was lucky.

Now don't judge the south's "terrible driving" or overreacting. I'll admit Atlanta doesn't have the best drivers even in good weather, but it's not like we get to practice winter driving everyday. We don't have snow plows or salt trucks or special tires. Even if there were some skilled drivers, they had nowhere to go because there were literally millions of people on the road all at the same time. So all you can do in a situation like this is wrap yourself in a blanket and eat some good food. I myself am a carb addict, so I decided to bake some fresh bread.

Baking your own bread sounds kind of intimidating. I'm not even sure most people have enough flour in their house to make much, and your yeast may or may not be too old to function. If you aren't snowed in, it is definitely worth it to run out to the nearest supermarket and buy some. Otherwise you might just end up with crackers. Luckily, this bread uses regular all-purpose flour, so you don't have to worry about getting bread flour.

I like to top my focaccia with just a sprinkle of sea salt and a few pieces of fresh rosemary. It is flavorful but still mild, in case you want to use it for dipping (perhaps for the upcoming Superbowl).

If you want to serve the focaccia plain, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, prosciutto, or mozzarella would all be delicious toppings. I've been inhaling pieces for breakfast, but you could also slice it down the middle to make sandwiches.

It has been quite an eventful week down in Georgia, but I'm convinced warm, fresh bread can fix anything. I've been so busy consuming loaves (well, one loaf) of focaccia that I almost forgot I have to hike back down the hill to get to my car or that I may have to go back to school tomorrow or that there is probably still gridlock from two days ago. Almost.

2 1/4 tsp (1 Packet) Yeast
3/4 Cup + 2 T Warm Water
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
3 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel
1-2 Sprigs Rosemary

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the yeast, water, and sugar together. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 1/2 cups flour, and salt. Knead with a dough hook for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary.

Roll the dough into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 60-90 minutes or until doubled.

Pour the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil into an 11x7" pyrex pan. Stretch the dough to fit; cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 450F.

Dimple the dough with your fingertips. Sprinkle with the Fleur de Sel and rosemary and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Serves 18
Recipe Adapted from Devour

If you wanted proof there was actual snow in Atlanta and not just panic over one snowflake, here is my house approximately two hours after the Grand Blizzard of 2014 began.

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